Florida Schools Strengthen Bullying Policies Ahead of House Bill

All of Florida’s K-12 school districts are now required to review bullying and harassment policies more frequently to ensure they are completely comprehensive and up-to-date.

On Monday, Florida House Bill 229 passed, requiring districts to review the policies at least every three years.  This would allow districts to update policies, accounting for new and evolving forms of bullying, like cyberbullying.

HB 229 strengthens Florida Statute 1006.147, which requires school districts to adopt policies that follow those of the Florida Department of Education. However, the statute doesn’t require districts to review the policies.

In some districts, school boards already review policies frequently.

In Marion County, for example, the bullying and harassment policy is reviewed yearly, said Marion County Public Schools spokesperson Kevin Christian.

He said the district’s bullying policy is in the student code of conduct, which is sent to students’ parents each year.  The policy is reviewed frequently to be comprehensive and up-to-date.

Suwannee County’s policy is also reviewed yearly, said Elizabeth Simpson, the Suwannee County School Board’s exceptional student education and services director.

“I think [bullying is] something that has to be taken seriously,” she said. “I think it’s something that happens in all communities.”

Read more here.

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